Have you ever asked yourself how/why some students go through 12 years of elementary, junior, and high school without missing a day? What makes these kids persevere? In part, it’s the need to learn, achieve, succeed. But, without the encouragement of the caregiver (parent, grandparent, aunt and uncle), it is difficult, nearly impossible, for a student to be the best he/she can be.
The parent/caregiver provides the key to success; a daily, productive routine. A child who lives in a house full of chaos cannot be expected to do his/her homework on time, get to bed on time, go to school when they aren’t prepared.
When school is out for the summer, it’s easy to relax rules and modify schedules but, school is back in session. Though it’s painful, don’t waiver! Bring back the rules and routines and get your students prepared.
All parents want their children to be successful, to graduate from high school and be prepared for college or the workforce. But not all parents are aware that students who miss just two days a month—whether the absences are excused or unexcused—are considered chronically absent and at risk of not graduating.
Studies show that missing just 10% or more of school can make it harder for children to learn to read by the end of third grade. This can result in students failing classes in middle school and can lead to suspensions and dropping out.
Children need to be in school to ensure they receive the support they need to learn and thrive. But there’s a whole range of issues— including poverty, health challenges, community violence and family circumstances— that make it difficult for them to take advantage of the opportunity to learn at school.
Parents and teachers can make a huge difference in whether students get to school every day. In an article by Cecelia Leong, she provides tips to reduce chronic absenteeism:
- Help your children understand why going to school everyday matters. Talk about what they miss when they are out, how showing up every day is an important skill for getting and keeping a job and how attending every day helps them learn what they need to know to achieve their hopes and dreams.
- Set attendance goals with your child, and track your child’s attendance on a calendar. Try offering small rewards for not missing any school, such as a later bedtime on weekends.
- Make attendance a priority at home. Set daily routines such as regular bedtimes for younger kids. Make sure more independent students in middle and high school understand the link between chronic absence and school success. Schools can engage students with incentives, contests and strong messaging.
- Make your child’s teacher a partner in your child’s attendance goals. Teachers may have insights into why your child might not want to attend, such as bullying or academic challenges.
- Ask your school for its chronic absence data. So often, we as parents think we are the only ones struggling with a problem, but it might be a lot of families facing the same challenge.
- Identify and work with others to reduce common barriers to your child’s strong attendance, such as a lack of reliable transportation or chronic health problems like asthma.
- Reach out to your child’s school for help. The teacher, principal, counselor, and nurse are all available to provide support. Some schools can refer you to resources to help the whole family.
- Help your school offer incentives for improved and strong attendance. Make sure your school doesn’t just recognize perfect attendance for a semester but finds ways to encourage students to improve, especially those who face challenges to getting to school. If you have time, volunteer to help with award ceremonies, creating attendance award certificates or even reach out to local businesses to contribute incentives like gift cards or food items.
Information gathered from an article written by Cecelia Leong. Visit Chronic Absence